All tagged outdoor industry

100 Years of Making Socks

It’s unclear who instituted the rule. 

It might have been Robert Chesebro Jr., whose grandfather, Herbert, founded Wigwam as Hand-Knit Hosiery in 1905. Or maybe it was Margaret Newhard and Chris Chesebro, his kids, who came up with the idea. 

But one thing is for sure: It didn’t matter how many hours the Chesebro kids spent playing on the factory floor, taking turns pushing one another down the aisles in huge bins made for carrying yarn and socks. They needed to work elsewhere before getting a gig with the family business, period.

Read the full story from SNEWS

The New Natural: Finding Fabric Innovation in Food Waste and Farming

There’s been a long-held belief that the subtext of “sustainable” is “brace yourself for sub-par performance.”

But as brands throughout the outdoor industry experiment with food waste, bioplastics, and other non-traditional natural fibers, they’re quickly finding incredible performance qualities inherent to organic materials that consumers have always tossed. From oyster, coconut, and macadamia nut shells to coffee grounds and scraps of cotton literally rescued from the cutting room floor, the next generation of outdoor product innovation isn’t invention—it’s reuse.

Read the full story from Outdoor Industry Association

The New Natural: Finding Fabric Innovation in Food Waste and Farming

There’s been a long-held belief that the subtext of “sustainable” is “brace yourself for sub-par performance.”

But as brands throughout the outdoor industry experiment with food waste, bioplastics, and other non-traditional natural fibers, they’re quickly finding incredible performance qualities inherent to organic materials that consumers have always tossed. From oyster, coconut, and macadamia nut shells to coffee grounds and scraps of cotton literally rescued from the cutting room floor, the next generation of outdoor product innovation isn’t invention—it’s reuse.

Read the full story from Outdoor Industry Association.

Bavarian Backpacks: Deuter Does it Again with Aircomfort Sensic System

Bavaria has the world’s most perfect snowflakes. If you hold out your mitten while hiking, you’ll have to do a double-take to make sure you haven’t accidentally collected tiny glass flakes carved by an artist.

Everywhere you look, there is storybook perfection in the shadow of Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain, amid an outdoor culture a bit different from our own. You will, of course, find the stunning vistas you imagine when you think of the Alps: tree branches sagging under the weight of snow, castles jutting out of mountainsides, fog that adds an air of mystery to it all. But, you’ll also often find creature comforts we don’t associate with hiking.

Read the full story, sponsored by Deuter, at Backpacker.com.

Get Green or Die Trying: The Future is PFC-Free

One day in July 2017, the shake machine, which tests water resistant properties of hydrophobic down, had been going for 2,000 minutes. Samantha Lee, a then 21-year-old intern at bulk down supplier Sustainable Down Source (SDS), knew she was onto something. So far, the test results indicated that 33 hours of rain wouldn’t rob the feathers, which had been treated with a eco-friendly Durable Water Repellent (DWR), of their insulating properties.

Read the full story at OutsideOnline.com.

First Look: Wenzel's Shenanigan Teepee

I’ve never been much of a big tent kind of person. The idea of having some extra space is really nice, but big tents are usually heavy, bulky and complicated. Plus, who goes camping to hang out inside, anyway?

Enter Wenzel’s upcoming Shenanigan Teepee, available in both five-person and eight-person version models, in two hipster-friendly geometric patterns. I have been converted.

The Shenanigan isn’t an all-season tent, so it’s not a replacement for a waterproof option that will keep you dry and shield you from the wind in a rough storm. But on clear – and mostly-clear nights – it’s a great shelter regardless of how many people you’re putting into it.

Read my full review at Gear Institute.

The Next Outdoor Heirloom

I was commissioned to write this sponsored piece for Backpacker.com and Climbing.com.

Think about the most important object you own. How old is this thing? Who gave it to you?

It might be a pocketknife with a worn leather sheath, well-loved over years of DIY tent fixes and whittling sticks for marshmallow toasting. It might be a pair of your mom’s old hiking boots that you adopted and resoled after she hiked the AT. Or it might be a wallet your dad passed down to you when you were old enough to start adventuring on your own.

Whatever it is, it’s been durable enough to withstand years of memories. It might even be older than you.

Outdoor heirlooms like that are harder to come by now, in an age of mass production where “more” often beats “better.”

“Products are made to fail these days,” says Mark King, founder of Trayvax, which makes wallets, belts, and lanyards. “Products today are made of plastic, and they’re made to break. They never last long enough to take on meaning.”

Read the full story here.

Ibex Outdoor Clothing Could Get Second Chance

Ibex Outdoor Clothing, which plans to close its doors in February, might be revived under the leadership of Terry Bicycles CEO Liz Robert. She confirmed Thursday that Vermont Works, a private equity firm of which she is a director, is exploring a bid on the Vermont-based apparel brand.

Robert says she sees potential in Ibex, which has a strong, loyal customer base and a good product. There’s synergy between Terry Bicycles and Ibex that she hopes to be able to leverage to keep the brand—and its jobs—within the state of Vermont. Robert formerly ran Vermont Teddy Bear Co. and purchased Terry Bicycles in 2009, moving it from Rochester, New York.

“People thought I was kind of crazy to do that,” she said Thursday. “People talk about the high cost of doing business in Vermont. But I’m a big believer that we need to try to support economic development in the state. I have a particular passion for Vermont, and a particular passion for keeping jobs in Vermont.”

Read the full story at SNEWS.

Gifts for Hikers & Campers

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned backpacker or a high schooler who’s just starting to venture outdoors and get into camping, we’ve got gift ideas to make everyone on your list psyched to head out on the trail before they’ve even finished opening the box.

Read my full guide, of 40 products for men and women, at gearinstitute.com.

Photo courtesy of Glerups.

Cotopaxi's Libre Sweater Doesn't Stink

You’ve no doubt heard of all the benefits merino wool has to offer, and you can likely recite them from memory. You’ve probably even have merino socks or baselayers in your closet. But llama wool? That’s not something you see every day.

Cotopaxi’s Libre Sweater has three key features that set it apart from other wool midlayers: First, it’s made entirely of llama wool. Second, it has wide perforations on the back, which open enough that whatever you are (or aren’t) wearing underneath shows through. And third, Cotopaxi actively discourages washing it.

Read the full story at Gear Institute.

The Little Sleeping Bag Brand That Could: How Big Agnes Toppled the Giants

Outside the outdoor industry, in cities where people wear dress shoes to work and their blazers are blazers, not technical jackets in disguise, “dirtbag” is a dirty word. It’s an insult not taken kindly.

But here, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, it’s a badge of honor and authenticity. It’s a word you might use to describe the roots of Big Agnes, which has expanded so quickly since its founding in 2001 that it has outgrown building after building, creating a sprawling campus, of sorts, of commercial spaces and houses converted into shops and offices. Late last year, the brand moved to consolidate into a building that will accommodate the majority of its staff members. People who had typically communicated via phone and email, even though they were working just a few minutes away in the same small town, are now mostly all in the same location, which will increase the efficiency of an already well-run machine.

Read the rest of my profile on Big Agnes at SNEWS.